Judge Lourdes A. Rodriguez de Jongh

FY 2015 - 2020, Miami Immigration Court

Judge Rodriguez de Jongh was appointed as an immigration judge in March2008. She received a bachelor of arts degree in 1976 from the University of Miami and a juris doctorate in 1988 from the University of Miami School of Law. From 1995 to March 2008, Judge Rodriguez de Jongh served as an immigration attorney in private practice in Miami and Tucson, Arizona. During that time, from September 2001 to April 2002,she worked as a staff attorney with the Asylum Program of Southern Arizona in Tucson. From 1991 to 1995, Judge Rodriguez de Jongh served as a staff attorney with the Legal Services of Greater Miami American Immigration Lawyer Association Pro Bono Project. She is a member of the Florida Bar.

Deciding Asylum Cases

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Figure 1: Percent of Asylum Matters Denied

Detailed data on Judge Rodriguez de Jongh decisions were examined for the period covering fiscal years 2015 through 2020. During this period, Judge Rodriguez de Jongh is recorded as deciding 388 asylum claims on their merits. Of these, she granted 90, gave no conditional grants, and denied 298. Converted to percentage terms, Rodriguez de Jongh denied 76.8 percent and granted (including conditional grants) 23.2 percent. Figure 1 provides a comparison of Judge Rodriguez de Jongh's denial rate fiscal year-by-year over this recent period. (Rates for years with less than 25 decisions are not shown.)

Nationwide Comparisons

Compared to Judge Rodriguez de Jongh's denial rate of 76.8 percent, nationally during this same period, immigration court judges denied 66.7 percent of asylum claims. In the Miami Immigration Court where Judge Rodriguez de Jongh was based, judges there denied asylum 88.5 percent of the time. See Figure 2.

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Figure 2: Comparing Denial Rates (percents)

Judge Rodriguez de Jongh can also be ranked compared to each of the 526 individual immigration judges serving during this period who rendered at least one hundred decisions in a city's immigration court. If judges were ranked from 1 to 526 - where 1 represented the highest denial percent and 526 represented the lowest - Judge Rodriguez de Jongh here receives a rank of 276. That is 275 judges denied asylum at higher rates, and 250 denied asylum at the same rate or less often. Ranks are tallied separately for each immigration court. Should a judge serve on more than one court during this period, separate ranks would be assigned in any court that the judge rendered at least 100 asylum decisions in.

Why Do Denial Rates Vary Among Judges?

Denial rates reflect in part the differing composition of cases assigned to different immigration judges. For example, being represented in court and the nationality of the asylum seeker appear to often impact decision outcome. Decisions also appear to reflect in part the personal perspective that the judge brings to the bench.

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Figure 3: Asylum Seeker Had Representation
Representation

If an asylum seeker is not represented by an attorney, almost all (88%) of them are denied asylum. In contrast, a significantly higher proportion of represented asylum seekers are successful. In the case of Judge Rodriguez de Jongh, 10.6% were not represented by an attorney. See Figure 3. For the nation as a whole, about 19% of asylum seekers are not represented.

Nationality

Asylum seekers are a diverse group. Over one hundred different nationalities had at least one hundred individuals claiming asylum decided during this period. As might be expected, immigration courts located in different parts of the country tend to have proportionately larger shares from some countries than from others. And, given the required legal grounds for a successful asylum claim, asylum seekers from some nations tend to be more successful than others.

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Figure 4: Asylum Decisions by Nationality

For Judge Rodriguez de Jongh, the largest group of asylum seekers appearing before her came from Guatemala. Individuals from this nation made up 46.1 % of her caseload. Other nationalities in descending order of frequency appearing before Judge Rodriguez de Jongh were: Honduras (26.3 %), Venezuela (10.3%), El Salvador (7%), Haiti (2.1%). See Figure 4.

In the nation as a whole during this same period, major nationalities of asylum seekers, in descending order of frequency, were El Salvador (18.1%), Guatemala (15.1%), Honduras (14.7%), Mexico (11.8%), China (10.2%), India (3.7%), Cuba (2.5%), Haiti (1.8%), Cameroon (1.5%), Venezuela (1.3%), Nepal (1.3%), Nicaragua (1.1%), Bangladesh (1.0%).

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